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2. Scenic Assessment: An Overview

DescriptionThe authors present a synthesis and overview of the early techniques developed for evaluating the scenic beauty of natural resources up until the mid 1970s.
MethodologyThe central theme of this report is the relationship between research into scenic beauty assessments and the management of scenic resources. Literature is grouped into three categories: descriptive inventories, public evaluations, and economic analysis. Both quantitative and non-quantitative methods within each category are discussed, strengths and weaknesses of the general approaches noted, and some alternatives suggested.

Critical review and summary of methodology.

Draws attention to the empirical evidence which suggests that there is no clear linear relationship between opinions (or stated visual preferences) and behaviour, (p121). They quote a number of papers to support their view that there is a significant difference between scenic beauty judgements and scenic preferences, (p120-121).

PublishedLandscape Planning
AuthorsArthur, L.M., Daniel, T.C. and Boster, R.S.
PublisherElsevier Scientific Publishing Co, Amsterdam
Keywordslandscape preference; environmental preference; environmental aesthetics; forest management.

The authors' stated aim is to find a consistent way to measure public appreciation for those landscape features which can be influenced by management practice. The review catalogues the early work on landscape preference including the seminal work of Daniel and Boster, (1976) and provides a useful critical appraisal of techniques.

The relationship between scenic beauty and landscape preference is discussed. Whilst some research suggests that the two are not correlated (e.g. Rabinowitz and Coughlin, 1970), others have found no substantial differences between scenic beauty and preference ratings (Daniel and Boster, 1976; Zube, Pitt and Anderson, 1974).


Daniel, T.C. and Boster, R.S. (1976) Measuring Landscape aesthetics: The Scenic Beauty Estimation Method. USDA, Forest Service Research paper, RM-167 Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Fort Collins, Co

Rabinowitz, C.B. and Coughlin, R.E. (1970) Analysis of Landscape Characteristics Relevant to Preference. Regional Science Research Institute Discussion Paper No 38, Philadelphia, 38pp

Zube, E.H., Pitt, D.G. and Anderson, T.W., (1974) Perception and Measurement of Scenic Resources in the Southern Connecticut River Valley. Institute for Management and His. Environment No R-74-1, Amherst, Mass., 191pp.